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Arm and Samsung to Co-Develop 2nm GAA-Optimized Cortex Cores

Arm and Samsung this week announced their joint design-technology co-optimization (DTCO) program for Arm’s next-generation Cortex general-purpose CPU cores as well as Samsung’s next-generation process technology featuring gate-all-around (GAA) multi-bridge-channel field-effect transistors (MBCFETs). 

Optimizing Cortex-X and Cortex-A processors on the latest Samsung process node underscores our shared vision to redefine what’s possible in mobile computing, and we look forward to continuing to push boundaries to meet the relentless performance and efficiency demands of the AI era,” said Chris Bergey, SVP and GM, Client Business at Arm.

Under the program, the companies aim to deliver tailored versions of Cortex-A and Cortex-X cores made on Samsung’s 2 nm-class process technology for various applications, including smartphones, datacenters, infrastructure, and various customized system-on-chips. For now, the companies does not say whether they aim to co-optimize Arm’s Cortex cores for Samsung’s 1st generation 2 nm production node called SF2 (due in 2025), or the plan is to optimize these cores for all SF2-series technologies, including SF2 and SF2P.

GAA nanosheet transistors with channels that are surrounded by gates on all four sides have a lot of options for optimization. For example, nanosheet channels can be widened to increase drive current and boost performance or shrunken to reduce power consumption and cost. Depending on the application, Arm and Samsung will have plenty of design choices.

Keeping in mind that we are talking about Cortex-A cores aimed at a wide variety of applications as well as Cortex-X cores designed specifically to deliver maximum performance, the results of the collaborative work promise to be quite decent. In particular, we are looking forward Cortex-X cores with maximized performance, Cortex-A cores with optimized performance and power consumption, and Cortex-A cores with reduced power consumption.

Nowadays collaboration between IP (intellectual property) developers, such as Arm, and foundries, such as Samsung Foundry, is essential to maximize performance, reduce power consumption, and optimize transistor density. The joint work with Arm will ensure that Samsung’s foundry partners will have access to processor cores that can deliver exactly what they need.

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